The murder had already hit the six o’clock news.
FBI Behavioral Analysis Unit Director Olivia Branson held her breath as she stepped over the threshold. The gut-wrenching hit of decomposition tunneled into her skin, down the back of her throat, until she was forced to take her next breath. Cameras clicked and flashed as the crime scene photographer took shots of the scene. The hotel room walls, once painted a neutral tan, had been stained in drying browns and red arcs. But it was the body in the center of the brightly patterned, carpeted floor near the bed that held her attention.
Uniformed officers searched and bagged the victim’s clothing from his luggage.
The word stuck at the front of her mind. No. Supervisory Special Agent in Charge Grant Harvey had only been a predator as long as she’d known him.
She nodded to one of the first officers on scene. “Director Branson, BAU. What have we got?”
“Hotel manager called it in. Says the room is paid up through the week. When the housekeeper came to change the sheets, she found Agent Harvey here. No signs of forced entry. Cash and cards are still in his wallet. The medical examiner is on her way.” The officer fisted a hand over his mouth. He forced himself to take a deep breath. “Excuse me, ma’am. I’ve just never seen anything like…this.”
She couldn’t say the same. Olivia lost count of the amount of stab wounds in the man’s torso. His once pristine button-down shirt had been soaked straight through, compromising her view. Whoever had attacked Grant Harvey had manipulated their way into his hotel room and stabbed him upward of twenty times. She hiked a thumb over her shoulder as she bent to study the remains. “Hallway.”
“Thank you, ma’am.” The officer bolted for the door.
She’d have to wait for the ME before she could search the body, but there had to be something here that’d give her an idea of why Harvey had come to Seattle. A case? Vacation?
“I see you’re still scaring off rookies. Federal and local alike.” That voice. His voice. It tunneled through her leather jacket and penetrated deep into bone. Smooth and rough at the same time, deep, with the ability to heighten her senses with a single word.
Olivia rose to her feet and turned to face him. Silas Hart. Black hair waved just above his ears, an equally dark beard and mustache hiding the sharp angles of his face. Strong brows fought to bury the shape of his eyes, but she didn’t have to get closer to know the finer details of his face. She’d memorized them a long time ago. The pitch-black suit framing him so perfectly hid solid muscle beneath all that soft fabric, but despite the urge, she knew better than to reach out and touch. “Agent Hart, I didn’t realize you were assigned this investigation.”
“For the time being.” Her former partner closed the distance between them, and every nerve ending she owned shot into awareness. Silas’s voice dropped into whispered territory. “You and I both know why Grant Harvey was targeted, Liv. You’ve seen bodies like this.”
“Is that why you’re here?” Defensiveness heated her neck and face. “To take credit for another one of my cases?”
“No.” He leaned in close, his mouth pressed against her ear. Too close. “I’m here to make sure you walk away from this alive.”
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